The headline in today's "20 minutos" read "victoria sí, tiki-taka no" for Spain's just barely home win over Colombia. Apparently Spain managing to sneak a win without playing well was wholly out-of-character.
Unless of course you actually watched Spain in the world cup without a pair of red and yellow specs, your shirt off and "VILLA MARAVILLA" written in body paint on your stomach. Then, whisper it, but Marquis Vicente del Bosque's Spain are a monumentally boring team to watch.
But Spain are a magnificent passing team, I hear you cry, with Iniesta and Xavi pulling the strings and flair players like Silva, Torres, Villa! The players are certainly there, which is why it beggars belief that Del Bosque's chosen style is a brand of passing football that stylistically is about as impressive as Sam Allardyce's Blackburn.
The mere fact of keeping possession and stringing together passes doesn't make a team exciting, nor attacking. In the case of Spain their addiction to stringing together endless passes in un-threatening areas of the pitch, their abject terror at the prospect of ever doing something that might lose them the ball might make them effective but it certainly doesn't set the pulse racing.
TIKI-TAKA, the ideal that certainly describes Guardiola's Barcelona and described Luís Aragones ' European Champions, has been turned into a monstrously slow way to kill games, as opponents are gradually lulled to sleep by the TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIK-IIIIIIIIIIII-TAAAAAAAAAAK-AAAAAAAAAA of the world champions.
This was certainly par for the course for "La Furia Roja" (more, "El Pequeño Molesto Roja"), who had a world cup that consisted of struggling to overcome limited opposition, and failing to do so in the event that said opponents scored first and they were expected to chase a game, then game-killing against good teams (their semi and final were dire affairs).
Spain fans awaiting the return of some fictitious attacking, élan and flair filled national teams, will be waiting a long time. It'll feel like even longer as they watch all those pretty passing exchanges on the half-way line.
Boris Johnson and Russia
6 hours ago